Thursday, November 20, 2008

Woolly Mammoth Update

Just because woolly mammoths are extinct doesn’t mean they’re gone forever…

Using next-generation instruments and groundbreaking DNA-reading techniques, scientists have uncovered much of the genetic code of the woolly mammoth, a prehistoric species of elephant.

The achievement could help scientists study why some species go extinct but others do not, and may even be useful in protecting other animals from extinction.

It also raises the possibility that scientists could use genome-wide sequencing to re-create an extinct creature.

“This really is the first time that we have been able to study an extinct animal in the same detail as the ones living in our own time,” said Stephan Schuster, a Penn State University biochemistry professor and co-author of the research.

I’d like to see what happens if they actually grew a new woolly mammoth, but they’d probably make lousy pets, especially when they shed.